Archives for May 2012

A Robot That Cleans Your Room—Finally!

It’s true that there are robots for almost every thankless task around the house. Although a few of the most hated ones still need that robotic help. For example, a robot that folds clothes, puts away the dishes, or even loads the dishwasher would be nice. I know robots to do all these tasks, and more, are in development, but they are just not there yet. Now, here comes a robot that will pick up the stuff laying around your room or office. Its about time. But, don’t blame the robot or its developers. The room cleaning activity is just not easy for a robot. The robot must know what the objects are, that they are out of place, and where they go. For a robot to accomplish all that is very slick. (Just remember how much you hate this task and you know what’s what in the room!) So, how long will it be before a robot is developed that can do all the tasks that now take a fleet of robots? That is probably several years away at best. We can always hope that we live to see that robot to make our lives even easier than they are now.

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fotocommunity.com

There's a robot for just about every thankless household chore — one scoops poop, another folds towels, there's even one that pours beer. Now, thankfully, there's a robot that tidies up a messy room. The room-cleaning task is more difficult than it
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Robot smart enough to clean your room (but not to have excuse to get out of it)
msnbc.com
Wed, 23 May 2012 20:31:07 GMT

Robotic Lifeguard to Assist Their Human Counterparts

This robot lifeguard assists the human lifeguards by zipping out to the distressed swimmer and providing a flotation device until other help arrives. The robotic lifeguard goes by the acronym “EMILY”. “EMILY” is named for a 13 year old California girl that died tragically. There are issues with this lifeguard assistant. For one thing, the device may not be useful with children swimming in shallow waters. Also, it may not be able to help swimmers that have already gone under the surface. Finally, there is the expense. These devices cost upwards of $23,000 for two of the “EMILY”s plus training for two lifeguards. With these potential drawbacks many wonder if the robots are worth the cost when they are basically untried.

As with robots in other areas of life, time will be the judge of their usefulness and cost effectiveness. What do you think? Is it always worth it to try new applications for robotics?


CBS Local

Robotic lifeguards making their way to the beach
WNCT
Meet a state-of-the art robotic lifeguard called "EMILY." Lisa Konicki, the Executive Director of the Westerly-Pawcatuck area Chamber of Commerce, has worked tirelessly to bring this invention to her town. "EMILY" is an acronym for Emergency Integrated
Robotic buoy to be used as lifeguard in Rhode IslandNew Haven Register
Robotic Lifeguards Making Their Way To East Coast ShoreHartford Courant
Lifeguarding goes high tech in WesterlyWRNI
all 15 news articles »

Robotic lifeguards making their way to the beach – WNCT
Tue, 22 May 2012 18:37:41 GMT

Paralyzed Patients Use Thoughts to Direct Robotic Arms

Personal assistance robots may have just become much more user friendly. According to Leigh Hochberg, MD, PhD, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues in a recent research project, two patients in a clinical trial were able to directly control robotic arms by using their thoughts.

Dr. Hochberg related in a paper published in the May 17 issue of Nature, “Using an investigational neural interface system — called BrainGate – two quadriplegics in a clinical trial were able to direct robotic arms to touch and grab foam balls.”

One of the patients was even able to grab a bottle of coffee and drink through a straw by controlling a heavy-duty arm, the researchers reported . The patient had not been able to do that by herself in nearly 15 years.

It seems to me that this may open the whole field of robotics to the idea of controlling machines with thoughts. Think of a robotic vacuum cleaner that you could direct to a spot that it missed during its cleaning runs. Even better a robotic exoskeleton that a paralyzed patient could direct to allow them to walk around and carry out fundamental tasks. This is merely the logical extension of the outcome of this research.

Imagine the freedom that mobility-impaired people would gain with the full development of this technology. Truly amazing stuff!


msnbc.com

Robotic Arms Allow Paralyzed Patients to Grasp Objects
BusinessWeek
By Elizabeth Lopatto on May 16, 2012

Two people paralyzed by strokes were able to control robotic arms by using their thoughts, a medical advance that may lead to more-sophisticated prosthetic limbs. One patient, a 58-year-old woman, used a robot arm
Stroke Victims Control Robotic Arm With Thoughts Wall Street Journal
Paralyzed woman gets robotic arm she controls with her mind msnbc.com
Paralysis victims use brain signals to control robotic arm USA TODAY
Science NewsTechnology ReviewPopular Science
all 21 news articles »

Robotic Arms Allow Paralyzed Patients to Grasp Objects – BusinessWeek
Wed, 16 May 2012 17:26:18 GMT

Space Robots May Service Satellites

weather-satellite_w553_h725Two companies are building robots to service dying satellites and keep them functioning in orbit. The question with the idea is whether or not this process would save money over the current practice of abandoning and/or replacing the dead satellites. At this time, it just does not seem financially feasible to have robots repair or refuel satellites even though the technology certainly is at the level needed to carryout these operations.

 

Photo Credit: NASA

Robotic droids prepared to extend lives of satellites
Examiner.com
Orbiting our planet is a vast multitude of satellites, some long dead and some still carrying out their mission. Once a satellite breaks down it's nearly impossible to fix it due to the massive costs of sending a specialized crew of astronauts to get
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Robotic droids prepared to extend lives of satellites – Examiner.com
Tue, 15 May 2012 16:17:55 GMT